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Phenylalanine and Its Impact on Cognition (PICO)

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03788343
Recruitment Status : Recruiting
First Posted : December 27, 2018
Last Update Posted : September 6, 2019
Sponsor:
Collaborator:
University of Zurich
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
University Hospital Inselspital, Berne

Brief Summary:
The PICO-Study is a randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover, non-inferiority trial conducted to add evidence to the current European treatment guidelines for adult patients with phenylketonuria.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Phenylketonuria Dietary Supplement: Phenylalanine Drug: Placebo Phase 4

Detailed Description:
Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder caused by deficiency of the phenylalanine hydroxylase enzyme leading to an impaired conversion of the amino acid phenylalanine (Phe) to tyrosine. Increased Phe concentrations in blood and brain during childhood can lead to severe intellectual disability, epilepsy and behavioral problems. However, since the introduction of newborn screening and early treatment with a dietary restriction of Phe (low protein diet) and Phe-free protein substitutes (amino acid mixtures) initiated soon after birth, patient with PKU no longer develop profound and irreversible intellectual disability. While there is a wide agreement on the treatment strategy and target Phe concentrations in childhood, no consensus on the safe Phe concentrations in adulthood has been reached so far. Traditionally, the low protein diet had been enforced only during childhood and adolescence, leaving adult patients with PKU "off-diet". Over the last decade, observational and cross-sectional studies associated high Phe in early-treated adult patients with cognitive problems, psychiatric symptoms and behavioral abnormalities. These association studies and one small interventional study led to substantially differing recommendations of national and international guidelines with regard to Phe target levels in adult patients with PKU. One of these guidelines is the highly controversial grade D recommendation of the most recent European guidelines to keep Phe concentrations below 600 μmol/L throughout adulthood. Consequently, the recommendations are not only unequally accepted by the treating metabolic specialists, more than 50 % of adults with PKU exhibit substantial difficulty in maintaining the compliance necessary to reach the recommended target Phe concentrations. Therefore, prospective intervention studies in adult patients with PKU are strongly needed to evaluate the effects of dietary restrictions on cognition, cerebral markers and quality of life. The PICO-Study aims at adding evidence to current guidelines and improving treatment recommendations. To this end, adult patients with PKU will participate in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover, non-inferiority trial. With the intervention, the project evaluates the impact of temporarily elevated blood Phe levels on cognition and functional properties of the brain of adult patients. Results of the PICO-Study will help to increase knowledge about impaired cognitive functioning and neural abnormalities in adult patients with PKU and will improve guidelines on dietary treatment in these patients. Such guidelines can greatly influence clinical routine as well as patients' adherence to their diet and ultimately their quality of life.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 60 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: Double (Participant, Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Supportive Care
Official Title: PICO: Phenylalanine and Its Impact on Cognition - Impact of Phenylalanine on Cognitive, Cerebral and Neurometabolic Parameters in Adult Patients With Phenylketonuria
Actual Study Start Date : August 19, 2019
Estimated Primary Completion Date : February 2021
Estimated Study Completion Date : February 2021


Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Phenylalanine

Capsules containing 250 mg Phenylalanine (Phe). The daily dose will be chosen according to gender and weight at the time of T1 and will be divided in 3 separate doses. The assigned dose of the IMP will be kept throughout the whole study and weight fluctuations will not be considered.

Female

<60 kg: 1500 mg per day (divided in 3 doses): 250 mg 2-2-2-0

≥60 kg: 2000 mg per day (divided in 3 doses): 250 mg 2-2-4-0

Male

<60 kg: 2500 mg per day (divided in 3 doses): 250 mg 4-2-4-0

≥60 kg: 3000 mg per day (divided in 3 doses): 250 mg 4-4-4-0

Phe capsules can be ingested before, during or after a meal or together with other amino acid supplements. The last capsule of the given intervention period will be timed to be ingested with the last meal before the study visit.

Patients will take Phe for 4 weeks.

Dietary Supplement: Phenylalanine
The study product Phenylalanine, a dietary supplement, is authorized in Switzerland, but not designated for this patient group.

Placebo Comparator: Placebo

Capsules containing 250mg Placebo. Placebo capsules will be administered in identical manner to Phe capsules.

Patients will take the Placebo for 4 weeks.

Drug: Placebo
Placebo capsules are indistinguishable in their appearance from Phe capsules




Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Working memory (accuracy) [ Time Frame: After intervention phase 1 (after 4 weeks from baseline) ]
    Influence of 4 weeks of oral Phe administration vs. Placebo on working memory performance, assessed using accuracy in the n-back task of the Test of Attentional Performance (TAP) in adult patients with phenylketonuria (PKU).

  2. Working memory (accuracy) [ Time Frame: After intervention phase 2 (after 12 weeks from baseline) ]
    Influence of 4 weeks of oral Phe administration vs. Placebo on working memory performance, assessed using accuracy in the n-back task of the Test of Attentional Performance (TAP) in adult patients with PKU.


Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Working memory (reaction time) [ Time Frame: 4 times: baseline, after intervention phase 1 (4 weeks from baseline), after washout (8 weeks from baseline), after intervention phase 2 (12 weeks from baseline) ]
    Influence of 4 weeks of oral Phe administration vs. Placebo on working memory performance, assessed using reaction time in the n-back task of the Test of Attentional Performance (TAP) in adult patients with PKU.

  2. Inhibition [ Time Frame: 4 times: baseline, after intervention phase 1 (4 weeks from baseline), after washout (8 weeks from baseline), after intervention phase 2 (12 weeks from baseline) ]
    Influence of 4 weeks of oral Phe administration vs. Placebo on inhibition assessed using the third condition of the color-word interference test of the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS) in adult patients with PKU.

  3. Cognitive flexibility [ Time Frame: 4 times: baseline, after intervention phase 1 (4 weeks from baseline), after washout (8 weeks from baseline), after intervention phase 2 (12 weeks from baseline) ]
    Influence of 4 weeks of oral Phe administration vs. Placebo on cognitive flexibility assessed using the fourth condition of the color-word interference test of the D-KEFS in adult patients with PKU.

  4. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) (working memory) [ Time Frame: 4 times: baseline, after intervention phase 1 (4 weeks from baseline), after washout (8 weeks from baseline), after intervention phase 2 (12 weeks from baseline) ]
    Influence of 4 weeks of oral Phe administration vs. Placebo on intensity of cerebral activation during a working memory task assessed using an n-back task in the MR scanner in adult patients with PKU.

  5. Resting-state fMRI [ Time Frame: 4 times: baseline, after intervention phase 1 (4 weeks from baseline), after washout (8 weeks from baseline), after intervention phase 2 (12 weeks from baseline) ]
    Influence of 4 weeks of oral Phe administration vs. Placebo on strength of functional connectivity in brain regions related to working memory as assessed by resting-state fMRI in adult patients with PKU.

  6. Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) [ Time Frame: 4 times: baseline, after intervention phase 1 (4 weeks from baseline), after washout (8 weeks from baseline), after intervention phase 2 (12 weeks from baseline) ]
    Influence of 4 weeks of oral Phe administration vs. Placebo on brain Phe concentrations as measured by MRS in adult patients with PKU.


Other Outcome Measures:
  1. Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) [ Time Frame: 4 times: baseline, after intervention phase 1 (4 weeks from baseline), after washout (8 weeks from baseline), after intervention phase 2 (12 weeks from baseline) ]
    Influence of 4 weeks of oral Phe administration vs. Placebo on white matter integrity assessed using DTI in adult patients with PKU.

  2. Arterial Spin Labeling (ASL) [ Time Frame: 4 times: baseline, after intervention phase 1 (4 weeks from baseline), after washout (8 weeks from baseline), after intervention phase 2 (12 weeks from baseline) ]
    Influence of 4 weeks of oral Phe administration vs. Placebo on cerebral blood flow assessed using ASL in adult patients with PKU.

  3. Structural MRI (cortical thickness) & working memory [ Time Frame: Baseline ]
    Relationship between cortical thickness and working memory (n-back task of the Test of Attentional Performance (TAP)) in adult patients with PKU.

  4. Structural MRI (cortical surface area) & working memory [ Time Frame: Baseline ]
    Relationship between cortical surface area and working memory (n-back task of the Test of Attentional Performance (TAP)) in adult patients with PKU.

  5. Structural MRI (cortical volume) & working memory [ Time Frame: Baseline ]
    Relationship between cortical volume and working memory (n-back task of the Test of Attentional Performance (TAP)) in adult patients with PKU.

  6. Structural MRI (cortical curvature) & working memory [ Time Frame: Baseline ]
    Relationship between cortical curvature and working memory (n-back task of the Test of Attentional Performance (TAP)) in adult patients with PKU.

  7. MRS & working memory [ Time Frame: Baseline ]
    Relationship between brain concentrations of Phe (MRS) and working memory (n-back task of the Test of Attentional Performance (TAP)) in adult patients with PKU.

  8. Blood concentration of Phe & working memory [ Time Frame: Baseline ]
    Relationship between blood concentrations of Phe and working memory (n-back task of the Test of Attentional Performance (TAP)) in adult patients with PKU.

  9. Working memory (accuracy): Patients vs. Controls [ Time Frame: Baseline ]
    Differences in working memory performance, assessed using accuracy in the n-back task of the Test of Attentional Performance (TAP) between adult patients with PKU and healthy controls.

  10. Working memory (reaction time): Patients vs. Controls [ Time Frame: Baseline ]
    Differences in working memory performance, assessed using reaction time in the n-back task of the Test of Attentional Performance (TAP) between adult patients with PKU and healthy controls.

  11. Inhibition: Patients vs. Controls [ Time Frame: Baseline ]
    Differences in inhibition assessed using the third condition of the color-word interference test of the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS) between adult patients with PKU and healthy controls.

  12. Cognitive flexibility: Patients vs. Controls [ Time Frame: Baseline ]
    Differences in cognitive flexibility assessed using the fourth condition of the color-word interference test of the D-KEFS between adult patients with PKU and healthy controls.

  13. DTI: Patients vs. Controls [ Time Frame: Baseline ]
    Differences in white matter integrity (DTI) between adult patients with PKU and healthy controls.

  14. fMRI of working memory: Patients vs. Controls [ Time Frame: Baseline ]
    Differences in intensity of cerebral activation during a working memory task assessed using an n-back task in the MR scanner between adult patients with PKU and healthy controls.

  15. ASL: Patients vs. Controls [ Time Frame: Baseline ]
    Differences in cerebral blood flow assessed using ASL between adult patients with PKU and healthy controls.

  16. Resting-state fMRI: Patients vs. Controls [ Time Frame: Baseline ]
    Differences in strength of functional connectivity in brain regions related to working memory as assessed by resting-state fMRI between adult patients with PKU and healthy controls.

  17. Structural MRI (cortical thickness): Patients vs. Controls [ Time Frame: Baseline ]
    Differences in cortical thickness between adult patients with PKU and healthy controls.

  18. Structural MRI (cortical surface area): Patients vs. Controls [ Time Frame: Baseline ]
    Differences in cortical surface area between adult patients with PKU and healthy controls.

  19. Structural MRI (cortical volume): Patients vs. Controls [ Time Frame: Baseline ]
    Differences in cortical volume between adult patients with PKU and healthy controls.

  20. Structural MRI (cortical curvature): Patients vs. Controls [ Time Frame: Baseline ]
    Differences in cortical curvature between adult patients with PKU and healthy controls.

  21. Mood (POMS) [ Time Frame: 4 times: baseline, after intervention phase 1 (4 weeks from baseline), after washout (8 weeks from baseline), after intervention phase 2 (12 weeks from baseline) ]
    Influence of 4 weeks of oral Phe administration vs. Placebo on mood assessed using the short form of the Profile of Mood States (POMS) in adult patients with PKU.

  22. Mood (BDI-II) [ Time Frame: 4 times: baseline, after intervention phase 1 (4 weeks from baseline), after washout (8 weeks from baseline), after intervention phase 2 (12 weeks from baseline) ]
    Influence of 4 weeks of oral Phe administration vs. Placebo on mood assessed using Beck's Depression Inventory (BDI-II) in adult patients with PKU. The total score indicates severity, ranging from 0 (no depression) to 63 (severe depression).

  23. PKU Quality of Life [ Time Frame: 4 times: baseline, after intervention phase 1 (4 weeks from baseline), after washout (8 weeks from baseline), after intervention phase 2 (12 weeks from baseline) ]
    Influence of 4 weeks of oral Phe administration vs. Placebo on the total score in the questionnaire PKU quality of life (PKUQOL) in adult patients with PKU.



Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.


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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Criteria

PATIENTS

Inclusion Criteria:

  • PKU diagnosed after a positive newborn screening
  • Treatment with Phe-restricted diet starting within the first 30 days of life
  • Age ≥18 years
  • Capable of following the study design
  • Written informed consent

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Patients with PKU not following a Phe-restricted diet within 6 months before the study
  • Phe concentration above 1600 µmol/L within 6 months before the study
  • Concomitant disease states suspected to significantly affect primary or secondary outcomes, e. g. untreated vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Known or suspected non-compliance, drug or alcohol abuse
  • Change in medications likely to significantly interfere with cognitive function testing
  • Known or suspected hypersensitivity or allergy to one of the ingredients of the placebo
  • Women who are pregnant or intent to get pregnant during the course of the study or who are breast feeding
  • Female participants of childbearing potential, not using and not willing to continue using one (or more) highly efficient (Pearl index less than 1) method of contraception for the entire study duration.
  • Inability to follow the procedures of the study, e. g. due to language problems (lack of fluency in German or French), psychological disorders, dementia, etc. of the participant.
  • Participation in another interventional study within the 30 days preceding and during the present study.
  • Previous enrolment into the current study
  • Conditions interfering with MRI such as magnetic (metallic) particles in the skull or brain, cardiac pacemaker, deep brain stimulators, cochlear implant, braces or permanent retainers

HEALTHY CONTROLS

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Age ≥18 years
  • Comparable to patients with regard to age, gender and educational level
  • Capable of following the study design
  • Written informed consent

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Known or suspected drug or alcohol abuse
  • Change in medications likely to significantly interfere with cognitive function testing
  • Women who are pregnant or intent to get pregnant during the course of the study or who are breast feeding
  • Inability to follow the procedures of the study, e. g. due to language problems (lack of fluency in German or French), psychological disorders, dementia, etc. of the participant.
  • Participation in another interventional study within the 30 days preceding and during the present study.
  • Previous enrolment into the current study
  • Conditions interfering with MRI such as magnetic (metallic) particles in the skull or brain, cardiac pacemaker, deep brain stimulators, cochlear implant, braces or permanent retainers

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT03788343


Contacts
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Contact: Raphaela Muri, MSc +41 31 632 47 42 raphaela.muri@insel.ch
Contact: Regula Everts, Prof. Dr. phil. +41 31 632 41 30 regula.everts@insel.ch

Locations
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Switzerland
Department of Diabetes, Endocrinology, Nutritional Medicine and Metabolism (UDEM), Inselspital, Bern University Hospital Recruiting
Bern, Switzerland, 3010
Contact: Regula Everts, Prof. Dr. phil.    +41 31 632 41 30    regula.everts@insel.ch   
Sponsors and Collaborators
University Hospital Inselspital, Berne
University of Zurich
Investigators
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Principal Investigator: Regula Everts, Prof. Dr. phil. Department of Diabetes, Endocrinology, Nutritional Medicine and Metabolism (UDEM), Inselspital, Bern University Hospital

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Responsible Party: University Hospital Inselspital, Berne
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03788343     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 2018-01609
3837 ( Other Identifier: Inselspital, Bern University Hospital )
First Posted: December 27, 2018    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: September 6, 2019
Last Verified: September 2019
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: No

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No
Keywords provided by University Hospital Inselspital, Berne:
Phenylketonuria
PKU
Phenylalanine
Diet
Neuropsychology
Working Memory
Neuroimaging
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Phenylketonurias
Brain Diseases, Metabolic, Inborn
Brain Diseases, Metabolic
Brain Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
Nervous System Diseases
Amino Acid Metabolism, Inborn Errors
Metabolism, Inborn Errors
Genetic Diseases, Inborn
Metabolic Diseases